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Author Topic: CGI vs. live-action
The White Hand
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After seeing films like Avatar, I have to say that CGI and live-action definitely don't mix. Mainly because you can't get the same real-life expression: but that's also due to production-error, since if the avatars were supposed to look like their human operators, then they could have simply had the actors put on blue make-up rather than CGI-transducers.
Obviously, TH is going to use the CGI-Gollum again, but what about other characters like Smaug? I can't stand seeing another CGI dragon trying to act human.

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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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What would you rather see, muppets? Let us go back, back, back...

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Roll of Honor pi
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Muppets? Mahna Mahna

[ 12-08-2010, 10:05 PM: Message edited by: pi ]

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The White Hand
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I'd rather see Gollum played by a real person. Non-humans don't matter so much, but when a CGI plays a person then it looks weirder than a Japanese cartoon.
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Jango
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Don't worry, many filmmakers are growing up these days when it comes to CGI. The days of CGI spectacle aren't over, but they're waning. I think the studios (the real problem, not the filmmakers) may be starting to listen to audience's complaints for story/tangibility in action over novel effects. Will CGI go away? No. Will it get better? Yes. Will movies keep using it WAY too much? Yes. However, they're getting smarter about how they use it thanks to the likes of Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro and James Cameron.

Like him or not, PJ still approaches his movies firstly in the classical manner. He still used tons of models and matte paintings for LotR and practically built the whole jungle in Kong on a sound stage -- which looked too fake in my opinion (but that's beside the point). Check out Hellboy 2 for evidence of what Del Toro can do with it. Most of the creatures you see in the movie are guys in suits, puppets and prosthetics. Many of them are actually hybrids of real makeup and CGI. See if you can tell where one element ends and the other begins. And James Cameron, whether you liked Avatar or not, broke new ground with performance capture. Those expressions you're watching on those blue faces are the actors' real time expressions, not an animation. Even the Wachowski's understood this when... wait, no. Sorry, I just remembered the second two Matrix movies...

Point I'm getting at is this: CGI is finding its place. It's a TOOL to be used. It's no different (in principal) than claymation, cartooning, or even old school blue screen. It's just easier and that makes it more tempting to abuse it the way it has. You may not like Peter Jackson, you may not like the way he treats Tolkien's work, but he's not a dumbass when it comes to his craft. He knows his tools and he'll use the appropriate ones when necessary. Expect more body doubles, matte paintings, bigatures, prosthetics, make up and flesh and blood extras than CGI goons. The computer is a wonderful thing that will help realize and achieve what cannot possibly be done otherwise. He's not going to pull a George Lucas on us.

And yes, Smaug will be CGI (no it won't be like watching Braveheart). Get over it.

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The White Hand
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You're making my case for me.


quote:
And James Cameron, whether you liked Avatar or not, broke new ground with performance capture. Those expressions you're watching on those blue faces are the actors' real time expressions, not an animation.
No more than Gollum's face is Andy Serkis's "real time expressions, not an animation--" since it used precisely the same technology (not that Andy Serkis counts as an actor, being the most rubber-faced man alive including Mr. Fantastic).
I know animation from reality, and the close-ups were NOT the real actors with blue make-up; I've seen Alien and Brokeback Mountain, and I know what Sigourney Weaver and Jake Gyllenhall look like when they squeal like pigs. They were animations, regardless of how it was tranposed-- I used to work with Virtual Reality, I know exactly how it works right down to the electromagnets and computers.
To come anywhere close to counting as "being the actors' real expressions," you'd need so much hardware that it'd be easier just to use the real thing-- not to mention that it's impossible to accurately digitize the thousands of possible facial-expressions using current technology, or even make visible the subtlety rather than looking like-- again, a Japanese cartoon (with the flapping mouths, cheap animation and grossly caricatured expressions).

quote:
Even the Wachowski's understood this when... wait, no. Sorry, I just remembered the second two Matrix movies...
You're suggesting that the third one was better?
Credibility just grew wings.

quote:
Point I'm getting at is this: CGI is finding its place. It's a TOOL to be used. It's no different (in principal) than claymation, cartooning, or even old school blue screen. It's just easier and that makes it more tempting to abuse it the way it has. You may not like Peter Jackson, you may not like the way he treats Tolkien's work, but he's not a dumbass when it comes to his craft.

Um... yeah, he is-- unless you believe that Rohan looks like rock-covered scrub-land. He proved he's an idiot, by the fact that his movies sucked that the box-office.... before he leeched onto a classic story that was ripe for exploitation as a cheap fantasy by people who didn't understand it... like any other low-life who did something REALLY low-- and hit the jackpot. But in either case, hypocrites will call both of them geniuses who knew what they were doing all along.


quote:
He knows his tools and he'll use the appropriate ones when necessary.
Again: that doesn't wash with the fact that Gollum moves cheaper than Dobbie; he simply spent the budget on cheap SFX instead of good actors.

As for CGI though, I do believe that the Elves should have been CGI, since Tolkien clearly said they were beautiful beyond humans-- but I recommended this only because their emotional range was also greater than humans, and so what looked like a lack of subtlety would more than likely capture Elves' other-worldly nature-- just like James in the Giant Peach looked like an animated character, but when he coughed up the green thing he turned back into a real-life boy.
They weren't better, they were just different-- inferior, even, but in a more complex way which flew over Jackson's head along with most things.

However, like many semi-literates and D&D nerds, Jackson believed that Elves were simply "neener-neener" BETTER than humans, who were inferior and stupid by comparison... which again, simply fails to understand Tolkien, so much as Gygax.

quote:
Expect more body doubles, matte paintings, bigatures, prosthetics, make up and flesh and blood extras than CGI goons.


Again, I'm talking about about CGI'd humans which includes hobbits. PJ's other non-CGI'd creatures were worse, however; the Elves, Dwarves, and orcs were horrible, though the CGI'd trolls were worse than anything (since it exaggerates the distortion from the actual story, where Trolls were like big bald stony humans who wore normal clothes, while Ents likewise were big bearded ones dressed in tree-bark).

quote:
The computer is a wonderful thing that will help realize and achieve what cannot possibly be done otherwise. He's not going to pull a George Lucas on us.

He already pulled a Peter Jackson-- that's worse.
The Nazgul became dementors, and Gollum became Jar-jar's evil twin.

quote:
And yes, Smaug will be CGI

That's fine, I just meant the dragon played by Sean Connery, right down to the stupid Jamed Bond expressions. If Smaug acts like a dragon, that's perfect-- as long as he doesn't make faces and "shlur."

quote:
(no it won't be like watching Braveheart). Get over it.


If he acts no worse than Mel Gibson, I'll be relieved-- i don't count him as a human actor.... I only watched Braveheart after hearing he gets disemboweled at the end.

But what's the alternative to a CGI Smaug? You can't hire many real dragons to play the part-- unlike hobbits, who are just small humans except for their ears and feet. Why should Gollum be animated more than the others?
I'll tell you why-- because PJ abused the technology, in addition to mis-reading, embellishing and exaggerating the story in that muddy little 70's D&D-playing mentality of his, which also pictured balrogs as winged flaming medieval fire-demons from Christian artwork, rather than as described by Tolkien to literate people.

[ 03-11-2011, 02:34 PM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

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Jango
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Oops! I meant Dragonheart. My bad []

Speaking of being better than everyone else... I clearly have no hope of contesting someone of your mature caliber and elite opinions.

Have you ever seen a psychic? I want to know if you were ever a Templar or a jihadist in a past life.

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The White Hand
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Shirley you jest []
From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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